Showing posts from August, 2021

The first gyrocopter to fly around the world piloted by an Antrim man

Norman Surplus & gyrocopter fly near Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The first rotary winged aircraft (called an Autogyro, Gyroplane or a Gyrocopter) flew in 1923, only 20 years after the Wright Brothers first took to the air.  In the intervening 96 years until 2019, the Autogyro remained the last fundamental Aircraft type to have never completed a flight around the world. The first rotary winged aircraft (called an Autogyro, Gyroplane or a Gyrocopter) flew in 1923 Norman Surplus of Larne, Co Antrim originally took up that challenge in 2010 in an open cockpit version of the machine.  Starting in his home town he headed east across Europe, the Middle East, Indian Sub-continent and SE Asia crossing 18 countries (the final count was 32 countries after completing the full, unbroken, circumnavigation in 2019).  Unfortunately Norman got stuck in Japan as the Russian authorities would not allow his unusual aircraft into their airspace. Norman began his adventure after recovering f

1st motorised fishing boat in the British Isles designed & built in Ireland 1908

In 1905 John Tyrrell and Sons, Arklow, Co. Wicklow designed and built a model for a motorised fishing boat which was in contrast to the dominance of steam driven vessels.  In 1907 the Department of Agriculture had this experimental boat built to this design and it was named Ovoca.  This was the first fishing vessel specially designed to be motorized in the British Isles and created a new class of boat a Motor Fishing Vessel (MFV). 25 HP Danish ‘Dan’ engine of the hot-bulb type similar to one installed in the Ovoca This vessel was 50 ft. (15.2 m.) overall length, 14 ft. (4.3 m.) beam and 6 ft. (1.8 m.) draft.  It was powered by a 25 HP Danish ‘Dan’ engine of the hot-bulb type, having two cylinders and a controllable pitch propeller.  The winch was belt-driven by the main engine.  A version of the cruiser stern was adopted and was a considerable departure from the sailing type of the time, being much more suitable for power propulsion. The Ovoca at Balbriggan Harbour, Co. Dublin Original

How 19th century paddle steamers transformed economic & social life on the Shannon estuary

A 19th century paddle steamer passes Foynes Island in the Shannon Estuary Paddle steamers were in operation before the railways and were the fastest mode of transport along wider water ways, estuaries and rivers.  Their hulls were built of wood and they were driven by paddle wheels housed in paddle boxes amidships.  Their steam engines used trapped steam to move pistons which drove shafts which in turn turned the paddles.  Single expansion engines were commonly used in paddle steamers.  They used steam expanded through only one stage causing all cylinders to operate at the same pressure.  The engines were also located amidships and sails continued to be carried as back up power. Technical detail of a typical paddle steamer Early steam-driven ships brought the first reliable transport system to the Lower Shannon.  A typical boat of the time was one built in 1816 by Scotts at Greenock, Scotland.  It’s length 77 ft. 7 in / 23.46 metres, with a beam of 15 ft. 3 in / 4.572 metres and a dept